A disclaimer before any show makes for a great episode, or three in this case, as we’ve got a three part reunion for The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion was taped prior to Jennie Nguyen’s social posts becoming public and her subsequent departure for the series; those posts are not addressed in the show.”
The icy ladies of Salt Lake City arrive to set and Andy begins his rounds as the ladies get glammed. Heather tells Andy “our friendship group is in crisis.” Whitney says “it’s like game day, I have to watch the other team play,” as she is watching a playback of Lisa on her phone. Rumors had been circulating that over in Beverly Hills Erika Jayne had questions fed to her beforehand; to make sure Jen didn’t get “the short end of the stick” Andy goes to her trailer to confirm that no questions were given to Erika in advance at the Beverly Hills reunion. We know that Meredith had only seen Lisa’s rant about her the night before and to this Meredith tells Andy “it’s rather revolting.”
The cast caught a lot of flack for their reunion outfits this year, but the one that stood out the most was Jen Shah, with an over the top purple gown and feather collar. Andy points out that Jen’s outfit is quite show stopping; some might have expected her to show up in some kind of white, representing her innocence. There’s an eerie similarity between Jen’s gown and Yzma’s from the animated film The Emperor’s New Groove. These two might have more in common than just their wardrobe. Even bigger than Jen’s wardrobe was Mary Cosby’s absence. Andy says she was upset about the comments made about her church, and “stunned” by Whitney calling her a predator.
Someone who surprisingly came for Mary’s defense was Heather; who said that after watching her confessionals Mary said “insightful” things throughout the season. Heather doubles down by saying that Mary was “right on the money” about Lisa; she is referring specifically to when Mary says that Lisa doesn’t know how to be real. Whitney follows Heather’s point by admitting that Mary did have a way of having “wisdom and insight.” To refute this Jennie goes on to say that Mary called Whitney a whore in her confessionals. Meredith says “the show is not healthy for Mary,” but could it be the other way around? Is it healthy to have someone like Mary on the show? Keep reading to form your own conclusion.
First in the hot seat is Jen as Andy reads the criminal charges against her. She is facing conspiracy to commit wire fraud with a maximum of 30 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit money laundering with an additional 20 years. Jen shares that her family had a talk about possibly quitting the show, but she felt she needed to tell her story. If Jen is found guilty then there is a scent of narcissism she possesses; to go on a reality show knowing the microscope she’d be put under is alarming. Her trial is set for March 22, 2022 in New York.
This season Jen went on an apology tour. She feels she’s apologized more than anyone else on the cast. She believes that there are other things going on in the group, but she’s always singled out; she does not hesitate to look at Lisa. Lisa defends herself by saying she’s never called her friend terrible names. She is referring to Jen calling Heather shrek, and Whitney donkey. Heather is quick to remind Lisa she’s called her friends worse names. “You called friends on this couch that you’ve known for 10 years a piece of shit garbage whore,” says Heather “I rather be called shrek everyday than be called the horrible things you’ve said about your friends of 10 years.
Meredith has a breakdown as she opens about her personal family issues. She admits to everyone that she’s been dealing with things the camera didn’t see that go beyond her issues with Jen. She’s been grieving the loss of her father who passed away from Covid-19, all while fighting with her sister. “It wasn’t my story to tell, I couldn’t talk about it, I was in a state of immense pain,” says Meredith. Andy asks Meredith if ultimately Jen treated her better than her best friend Lisa. Meredith says yes. Lisa gasps and says “I have to be perfect all the time or I’m held to a different bar.”
Whitney and Heather, aka “bad weather”, think Lisa manipulates Jennie to fight some of her battles. Jenny was “taken back” by their minion comment during an after show. “I’m her friend and she will not control what I do,” said Jennie. ” Heather explains, “I think Jennie is in a tough position because she is Lisa’s friend and Lisa has expectations of her friends that are very controlling and I was worried that you were going to be motivated to do what she was manipulating you to do.”
Of course this does not sit well with Lisa to which she says “I don’t want to nor do I control anyone through manipulation or any other tactics. I have no tactics, you guys use the word minions so if anyone stands up for me they are the bad guys and I don’t like that.” Whitney apologizes to jennie if she called her a minion. Meredith interjects to say “I do think there is some level of control that goes on.”
Things get awkward as they start to roll back the clips of Mary making racist remarks towards Jen Shah, saying when she thinks of her she sees a thug. “Those Mexican people that make all those drugs.” Mary also talked about Jennie saying “you do have a yellow tone, I like the slanted eyes, love it.” It didn’t stop there; she has also imitated Jennie’s accent. As an immigrant woman of color Jennie says it’s difficult living in Salt Lake City. According to her it’s a contrast to Long Beach, California where she says there’s a lot of diversity. All her life she’s been told she needs to “learn to communicate.”
In that same clip we see Meredith at lunch with Mary where she tells her “please no characters please” while giggling. Although it seemed as if Meredith brushed it off she says “I was horrified and uncomfortable.”
As they confronted Mary at Whitney’s party Meredith was asked about the slanted eyes comment but she stayed silent. At the reunion Meredith addressed Jennie. “When you’re dealing with a comment that is prejudicial you’re supposed to look at the party affected by it, to get a cue,” says Meredith. In what book did Meredith read that?
Things quickly turn to Heather as they discuss her comment about Jennie looking like an anime character. “It’s not because you are asian, which I realize and it’s terrible that it came out that way,” says Heather. “You were wearing a vinyl corset. You looked like a cartoon, drawn, physically-beautifully, ridiculously over designed like an anime character, like a cartoon.” Jennie interrupts to say “that’s the thing, I love a compliment, I just don’t like the labeling.” Heather agrees, “I know, I shouldn’t have said that, I’m sorry.”
One thing about tables–they always turn. Jennie’s use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) leaves some confused. A viewer’s question suggests that Jennie uses stereotypical depictions of black women when she talks to or about Mary. Jennie says “I don’t see that I have a black accent, I grew up in Long Beach, California. It shaped who I am, that is where I get my accent, I have an accent, whatever comes out, comes out.”
In the last episode Jennie throws a glass at Mary; Andy says “Is that a little bit hypocritical to reprimand Mary for being violent with her words when you were violent with her actions?” Jennie’s response? “I didn’t throw it at Mary, I threw it on the floor. If I wanted it to hit Mary it would have hit Mary.”
Jennie has apologized to Mary in the past, she even did her make up afterwards so she’s confused why the tension continued. Heather says “there’s a part of me that thinks that Mary is racist because it didn’t stop there and it seemed to always come up.”
Andy reveals to the ladies that he spoke to Mary and she said she didn’t think black people were capable of being racist. “They are. Everyone is capable of being racists,” says Jennie. The camera spans to all cast members as suspenseful music plays. We love a shady camera man.
They finally address Angie (friend of) this season. A clip shows Angie telling Whitney that there has been a “hiccup” with the party she’s been planning. Angie reveals that according to the restaurant: “we’ve been asked to host events at the restaurant by Lisa’s assistant, we can’t do your event.” Whitney thinks Lisa was sabotaging Angie and her event.
By a show of hands Everyone except Jennie thinks that Lisa is the biggest pot stirrer of the group. Jen says there’s one on each couch. Whintey says “I think that Lisa does a brilliant job of stirring the pot and I always take the baton.”
A viewer asks Lisa to explain the timeline of the catering debacle. Lisa pulls out a binder of receipts. A watered down version of the infamous Monique Samuels binder from season 5 of Potomac reunion if I must say. They proved very little in Lisa’s defense.
Whitney thinks Lisa wanted to sabotage Angie because she and Angie connect. Whitney insists that Lisa didn’t want Angie to acknowledge Whitney as her cousin. Whitney goes on to say that Angie knows Lisa’s “deepest darkest secrets.”
Andy brings up Heather and Whitney celebrating Angie’s birthday in Cabo. Heather says to Lisa “Everything was paid for. It’s the life you pretend to have that Angie actually has and we enjoyed the spoils of it.” Heather continues, “You know what I have dirt on you Lisa and I’ve held it all back but I won’t hold it back anymore.” It doesn’t end there. To finish her Heather says “I liked her more when I saw her true self show up than I’ve ever liked her, because I don’t want to be friends with a caricature of some teen magazine that she read in 8th grade that said how to be a cool mean girl.”
A viewer question addressed to Jen asks if she felt Lisa wanted to humiliate her when she mentioned Jen’s former dress designer on the show, or was she worried Whitney was being a bad friend by sending him a free skin care product. Jen calls Lisa two faced, and what seems to be an admission, Lisa says she didn’t mean to be. She recognizes that she messed up by mentioning he who shall not be named.
Lisa shares that in a moment not caught on camera she and Jen talked on the phone and she thought that would be the last time they spoke. Lisa says “I love Jen Shah, as controversial as that is.” In an aggravated tone Jen interrupts and says “You don’t have to add as controversial as that is to love jen shah, leave that shit out. Either love me or don’t love me but I’m tired of all the disclaimers when it comes to Jen Shah. It’s bullshit.”
Stay tuned as next week the reunion continues.